Debunking Sisters for Life

8 Aug

This year, the Sisters of Life celebrates its twentieth birthday. The Sisters of Life is a religious order established in 1991. They exist “to protect and enhance the sacredness of every human life.” If you visit the Sisters of Life’s website, you will read stories about pregnant women receiving help from the compassionate nuns, either at one of the housing facilities they provide, or in the form of strollers and baby clothes. The website paints a pretty picture of nuns in their habits, but it is a very incomplete picture at best.

The language that the Sisters of Life use may seem woman-centric on the surface, but if you dig a little deeper, you realize that they are only concerned with the fetus, not the woman. The tactics they use are very similar to those at crisis pregnancy centers. When women approach them for help, they are given biased information against abortion and are only offered assistance if they continue their pregnancy.

Sisters of Life currently serve under the supervision of Archbishop Timothy Dolan, who is the president of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops. The archbishop has been very vocal about his positions on birth control and abortion. During his installation as the president of the USCCB, he stated that he would use the post to “to embrace and protect the dignity of every human person, the sanctity of human life, from the tiny baby in the womb to the last moment of natural passing into eternal life.” Archbishop Dolan and the USCCB have been in the news recently criticizing the Department of Health and Human Services’ announcement that it supports no co-pay birth control, despite the HHS exception for religious hospitals and insurance programs.

I think it’s important to compare Sisters of Life to the group Catholics for Choice, which serves as “a voice for Catholics who believe that the Catholic tradition supports a woman’s moral and legal right to follow her conscience in matters of sexuality and reproductive health.” Catholics for Choice argues that abortion and birth control are a matter of individual conscience, and that each woman has the ability to make her own decisions about what is best for her health and her family.

I’m not a Catholic myself, but I really respect the work of Catholics for Choice. They use Catholic theology to justify their position, and they educate pro-choice advocates about the best way to reach out to the Catholic community. CFC trusts and respects women, while the Sisters of Life assume that the Pope ultimately knows what’s best for women’s lives.

Although I think it’s commendable that the nuns who belong to Sisters of Life have dedicated their lives to serving others, I think their message cannot be taken at face value. Abortion and birth control are ultimately a personal decision. The fact that 98% of Catholic women say that they have used some form of birth control should be a sign to the Catholic hierarchy that they are out of touch with their parishioners’ lives.

10 Responses to “Debunking Sisters for Life”

  1. Theresa Bonopartis August 9, 2011 at 10:47 am #

    Well, it is beyond obvious that the person who wrote the above post knows nothing about the Sisters of Life. Perhaps a little research would prove to advantageous before posting!

    In addition to helping countless women have their children, for 15 years, I,along with the Sisters have ministered to women who have been lied to and have had emotional, spiritual and physical damage as a result of a prior abortion. I know you do not like to hear it, but there are countless numbers of us out here.

    You also say “Catholics for Choice argues that abortion and birth control are a matter of individual conscience, and that each woman has the ability to make her own decisions about what is best for her health and her family.” In case you did not know,if you support abortion, you are not truly Catholic, so they can call themselves anything they want, but they do not live the Catholic faith.

    One has to wonder why it disturbs you so much that these Sisters are aiding pregnant women…I thought you were for free choice every woman’s ability to make her own decision? These women want their babies.

    You say the Sisters think the pope knows what women want, well, you obviously think you know too, but you do not because you certainly do not speak for me as a post abortive person, nor the thousands of other women we have served in our post abortion ministry.

    In reality, your name says it all..The “Abortion Gang”!

  2. freewomyn August 9, 2011 at 11:46 am #

    Theresa, I respect your faith. But are you really willing to say that 98% of Catholic women aren’t really Catholic?

  3. Steph L August 10, 2011 at 12:09 am #

    “One has to wonder why it disturbs you so much that these Sisters are aiding pregnant women”

    Way to distort the point of the post. The concern is that people like you don’t simply seek to aid pregnant women, you lie, mislead and intimidate women into doing what you want them to do based on your own deluded convictions.

  4. Anna P August 11, 2011 at 9:49 am #

    You say that the Sisters of Life only support a woman you is willing to keep her child. Ok that may be true but what help does a woman need who decides to ‘terminate’ her child?? You all say that there are no lasting effects of an abortion, so by your logic these women don’t need the Sisters help. The women who do need help are those who are courageous enough to have their baby and do what is right.
    To Steph L…. who is lying to these women? The people who tell them that yes there is life growing inside you, that you can get assistance if you want/need it……. OR the people telling you that it isn’t a baby until the 5th month, that you can’t take care of/support ‘this’ blob if it is born…….blah blah blah. I am confused as ti how it is misleading and intimidating women to give them hope to something other than death for their child.

  5. Dee August 11, 2011 at 2:12 pm #

    “You say that the Sisters of Life only support a woman you is willing to keep her child. Ok that may be true but what help does a woman need who decides to ‘terminate’ her child?”

    A woman might need help with information regarding abortion, help to access it legally in her state or nearby state, as well as financial aid for the procedure itself. So, yeah, there’s lots of practical help that women need when they seek abortions.

    “who is lying to these women?”

    The people who lie about the effectiveness of birth control and the “side effects” of abortion. You know, antis.

  6. Alyson August 21, 2011 at 1:06 am #

    “OR the people telling you that it isn’t a baby until the 5th month, that you can’t take care of/support ‘this’ blob if it is born”
    …hmm, as someone who has worked or volunteered in abortion care for the past three years, I’ve never told anyone any of this. I’m not sure why you have arbitrarily chosen the “5th month” as the point when it becomes a baby; for the most part people in the medical field measure pregnancies in terms of weeks, not months. And as there has never been a 20-week fetus which has survived outside of a woman’s uterus, I doubt most pro-choicers would be calling it a “baby” then.

    Also, I’m well aware that many people make do with very little and/or make the best out of bad circumstances and have babies when they can’t really afford them. I support making this easier by increasing governmental assistance to women in these situations, making daycare more affordable, supporting paid maternity leaves, et cetera. I would never tell a woman that she “can’t afford to take care of a baby,” that’s a decision she has to make. If someone tells me that she’s choosing abortion for financial reasons, I sympathize with that and ask her if she’s considered her options. This is pretty much uniform across the field; Dr. Carhart is planning to integrate adoption services into his clinical work.

    “A woman might need help with information regarding abortion, help to access it legally in her state or nearby state, as well as financial aid for the procedure itself. So, yeah, there’s lots of practical help that women need when they seek abortions.”
    Particularly if she is dealing with genetic abnormalities or other things one would think would be worthy of sympathy.

  7. freewomyn August 21, 2011 at 9:30 pm #

    Alyson, I couldn’t agree more.

  8. Emma G September 28, 2011 at 2:53 pm #

    I think it’s interesting when someone declares when someone is or is not Catholic. I am currently a non-practicing Catholic but I grew up Catholic, have several family members who are devout and will probably defend the Catholic faith until I die because I respect and understand it.

    And you know what, none of my family members who are Catholic have ever told anyone that holds different views then them that they aren’t really Catholic. To a Catholic, in the end, it is between you and God. No one knows what is in your heart except God; not the church, the pope, the clergy or your neighbor.

    Theresa, I would actually encourage you to read the Catholics for Choice website. You don’t have to accept their viewpoint but they aren’t out in the outer regions of logic here, they actually do understand the faith.

    All women who are pregnant need help. Regardless of their choices. Anna, amazingly there are women like me who have had abortions (in my case it was because of life threatening complications)and aren’t horrifically traumatized. Often, when I speak to women who are conflicted or in deep sorrow over an abortion, it is because they are taught they are murderers. They are taught they are bad people. They reach out to places that supposedly offer faith support and often are told they can find forgiveness despite the fact they are bad people.

    A long time ago, a college friend of mine had an abortion. Some of her friends told her she was a murderer (on a daily basis no less) and she became distressed. I took her to what I thought was a support group. Instead she was even more traumatized by this ‘Christian’ group who told her she was a bad person and needed to beg for forgiveness and would always be a murderer in the eyes of God!

    These view points are far more damaging to women.

    Pro-choicers aren’t against care for pregnant women or support systems. We’re all for it. We’re against one-sided information, information that is biased or even flat out wrong and given to influence a woman to their point of view. It doesn’t matter if that place is pro or against abortion, it harms women. If you want to support women who keep their pregnancies and help them with a support system, more power to you. That’s great and a wonderful thing. Just don’t give out slanted or flat out wrong information on issues you may not like.

  9. Sarah November 2, 2011 at 1:42 pm #

    I want to join these sisters in the future. That is far from the truth, they have helped me with a lot of things from my past and they are concerned about everyone. You can be around them for only 5 minutes and leave knowing that they care about you. have you even been around them? they shine Christ’s light everywhere they go. There founder said,” they can do whatever as long as it toward’s life.” The fact that you are comparing them to a group who has the opposite beliefs is insulting.
    Furthermore, Post abortive woman are tramatized because of what they go through when they have the abortion and because of the lack of information and compassion for them beforehand from the people who work at the abortion mill.
    When you call yourself Pro-choice, your basically saying that they can decide to have an abortion and it does not matter about the child. Pro-lifers want whats best for the mother and the child. Do you really think that a mother wants to see her own flesh and blood torn apart because they were told that it was a blob of tissue when it wasn’t? Just because the baby is no longer in the womb does not no longer make her a mother, she is just the mother of a dead baby. It would not be any different if someone came in and shot her child.
    Also, woman who have abortions are more likely to get breastcancer. some may never be able to conceive again. Some do not even survive the abortion. A woman’s body was not made for someone else to purposely take the life of their unborn baby. It takes a tole on their bodies.
    Woman need to be shown that they are cared for especially when they are in a venerable state such as an unplanned pregnancy, not told that their only choice is abortion which many are told that when they go into abortion clinics. Life starts at the moment fertilization.
    Pregnancy lasts only for 9 months,but Abortion lasts a lifetime.
    I know you maybe agree with any of this,but I will be praying for you.

  10. freewomyn November 2, 2011 at 2:08 pm #

    Sarah, pregnancy lasts 9 months, and motherhood lasts for a lifetime. If a woman recognizes that she can’t handle the responsibility of raising a child, then that is responsible decision making as far as I am concerned.

    I’m not going to respond to any of the other lies in your comment.

    Best of luck to you in your efforts to join Sisters of Life.

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